There's a depressing report here about rising anti-Semitism in Sweden. Some of what you read may look familiar to you from other settings, but a telling detail concerns the reported views of Ilmar Reepalu, mayor of Malmo:
They [the Jews of Malmo] also accuse Ilmar Reepalu, the Left-wing mayor who has been in power for 15 years, of failing to protect them.
Mr Reepalu, who is blamed for lax policing, is at the centre of a growing controversy for saying that what the Jews perceive as naked anti-Semitism is in fact just a sad, but understandable consequence of Israeli policy in the Middle East.
The mayor insisted to The Sunday Telegraph that he was opposed to anti-Semitism, but added: "I believe these are anti-Israel attacks, connected to the war in Gaza..."
Just as anti-Semitism itself is protean, changing its forms as the need arises, so the denial of, or attempt to minimize, its existence shows signs of endless creativity. The good mayor of Malmo has introduced a distinction between 'naked' anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism of another sort, presumably more clothed. Hostility towards Jews and attacks on Jewish institutions, he says, are 'anti-Israel attacks'.
Ahhh, there you see the style of clothing. But leaving aside that anti-Semitism, as every type of racism, always walks in clothing - pretexts, excuses, myths and lies - hatred of Jews or attacks on them and their places of worship, schools or other institutions are nothing but anti-Semitism, whether they are linked to passions about Israel or not. For the targets of them are not, in fact, Israel; they are, in this case, Swedish Jews. Malmo's mayor confirms the conclusion proposed on this blog last April that there's a sector of opinion - and I regret to have to acknowledge that much of it is indeed left-wing - for which, so long as attitudes are anti-Zionist (or, now, anti-Israel), it doesn't really matter if they're anti-Semitic.
Next week: tune in for the mayor of Malmo on how attacks on Muslims aren't nakedly anything either. They are a measured critique of al-Qaida terrorism.